We never wanted Friendly Fires to change, we just wanted them back. The group were last seen hula-hooping and gyrating on festival stages back in 2012 in support of their second album, ‘Pala’, and we’ve had essentially nothing since. There were teasers, there were side-projects – there was literally everything other than a new Friendly Fires single. Last night, they finally returned with a gigantic live show at o2 Academy Brixton and a new single ‘Love Like Waves’, and let me tell you: nothing has changed.
‘Love Like Waves’ is joyous slice of tropical-pop one that sounds like both like the shiniest cuts from ‘Pala’ and what your head feels like when you crack open your first Red Stripe of the summer. And last night’s show proved that all is basically the same in Friendly Fires’ world right now, and maybe, even a little bit better.
Operating as an eight-piece band, which included multi-instrumentalists, endless horns and a whole lot of cowbell – this is a group who’s live show has not deviated from the formula but added a electrifying edge. Set opener ‘Lovesick’ is bolstered out by a second drumkit and ‘Jump In The Pool’ is manipulated to feel more anthemic than ever before. Ed MacFarland’s stage presence is still a unmissable presence. The visuals remain glorious orgy of primary colours at their most eye-popping.
And this isn’t just because we’re happy to have them back, their new material proves that they’re a band not just ready to dine out on nostalgia, they’ve got so much more to give. ‘Tijuana’ possess a killer chorus and ‘Can’t Wait Forever’ is a slinking house-tinged wonder. These will be dominating your playlists this summer.
Things weren’t a million miles away from the live spectacle they put on in the first half of this decade – the band feel rejuvenated and familiar. We’ve got them back and it’s everything we wanted.
Friendly Fires played:
Jump in the Pool
Can’t Wait Forever
In the Hospital
Live Those Days Tonight
Love Like Waves
Kiss of Life